The Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew, one of the original twelve disciples (also referred to as “Levi” by Mark and Luke). Matthew was originally a tax collector, but he left his life and career behind to go follow Jesus (as recorded in Matthew 9:9). This gospel account of Jesus’s life is the most Jewish-centric, full of Old Testament references that Matthew’s Jewish readers would have picked up on.
After 400 years of silence in between the book of Malachi and the birth of Jesus, this account of Jesus’s life serves as a reminder that God had not forgotten His people. Quite the opposite in fact! Through these 28 chapters describing Jesus’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection, we are able to see both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. We’ll read some of the most famous words Jesus said, as well as the stories of some of the miracles he performed during his ministry. The book ends with The Great Commission: That we are to go and make disciples of all nations. That instruction is no less for us today than it was to the original audience that Jesus spoke those powerful words to.
This book is an eyewitness account of the most impactful person in human history–and we get to read it! As you read each chapter, try to immerse yourself in the story. That’s what makes these narrative accounts of the life of Jesus so compelling! Close your eyes and picture what each one of these scenes might have looked like. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in a new way as you experience Jesus through these ancient, sacred words.
For a preview of what’s to come as we read through Matthew together, check out this overview of the first half of the book from The Bible Project.
Read Matthew 1
The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
This chapter starts with the genealogy of Jesus and describes how Jesus is linked to familiar characters from the Old Testament: He descends from the Messianic line of David and Abraham. These key points are meant to provide evidence that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and will bring God’s blessing to all the nations, just as God promised to Abraham. In 2 Samuel it was also foretold and explained that the Messiah would come from King David’s line, and in the very first sentence of this book, Matthew points to Jesus as the fulfillment of those promises.
But let’s not miss that Matthew also includes some interesting characters that didn’t fulfill prophecies, but rather were meant to provide us with hope all throughout Jesus’s geneology. His mention of prostitutes and murderers and adulterers along the way, because it identifies the sinners in Jesus’s–people just like us. As the theologian Charles Spurgeon put it, Jesus “is akin to the fallen and to the lowly, and he will show his love even to the poorest and most obscure.”
What a gift that God made sure to intentionally include the lowly in this list. It’s tangible evidence of His grace and love for us all–one more assurance that we would never have to feel that we fall outside of His forgiveness. In fact, not only does it provide assurance of forgiveness, it exhibits a picture of Ephesians 1:11 which says that we have obtained an inheritance in Jesus. Absolutely none of us are so bad that we cannot be included in the genealogy of Christ the King!
Today as we go about our day, let’s focus on and give thanks for a God who cared so much about us that He inspired those writing Scripture to include names like Tamar, Rahab, and David with the wife of Uriah. Names that did not have to be included, but as 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us were “God-breathed” for our benefit. What a reminder of God’s love for every single one of us, no matter our story.
- Why do you think God intentionally included certain names in this list of genealogy?
- What can you thank God for as a result of your answer to question one?
- Is there anyone that you feel is beyond God’s forgiveness? Ask God to change your heart and provide you with reminders that even the “lowly” deserve Christ’s inheritance.
By the Way
Romans 8:16-17 explains more about our inheritance in Christ.
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
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